Thursday: Psalm 45-48; Deuteronomy 9.1-12; 1 Corinthians 11.2-16

From: Chris Allison

Right before the Israelites are about to cross the Jordan, in triumph, into the land that God had promised them, they get a lecture from Moses. The passage for today is explicitly about how to enter that land. 
Moses's subject is not how great the land is, nor congratulating the people for their hard work in getting there, but rather: "You don't deserve this."
The theme throughout the passage is to walk into God's blessing in humility—perhaps humiliation—lest they come under the impression that are to receive the land based on merit. God kept God's promises, and you, the people, did not. But there is sense that Moses' message is not just about the past, but also a warning and promise to the future. God will continue to keep God's promises. But unless the people walk in humility and an awareness of God's gracious provision, they are doomed to break their covenant with God again and again to their own detriment. The antidote to this fatalism, Moses believes, is a clear-eyed remembrance by the people of their true nature, not of righteousness, but of sin. 
Often, when we walk into blessings in our lives—times of plenty or of good fortune—there is a temptation to be self-satisfied. We have received good because we are good. But Moses in this passage urges the people, and us, to remember our real selves. This way we can walk humbly into God's calling.
There is suffering galore in the pages to come among the people. But even amid the many set backs, God is pushing the people to their new home nonetheless, drawing them through the muck and mire to a promised land, no matter their deservedness. I suppose to truly know and enjoy God's blessing, we must know ourselves as we are—as sinners. Here the brilliance of God's grace shines brightly in us and becomes our light and salvation. The people of Israel, like us, are offered a better place. Not because we are good, but because God is.

Tuesday: Psalm 39-41; Deuteronomy 8.1-10; 1 Corinthians 10.1-22

From: Caroline Dixon

It was easy for me to get discouraged today. It was humid and sticky. My mind drifted to workplace puzzles that can't be solved until Monday anyway. My self-pitying eyes looked around the congregation, imagining everyone else's lives to be full of bliss, contentment, and ease on this summer morning. Me, thinking I'm the only one utterly discouraged at church today. It was easy for me to get discouraged today.  

So, is there any way for me to "SNAP OUT OF IT"??

Only one thing ever really seems to work: remembering my own real story.  Remembering God's true, historic, actual INTERVENTION into my life. To remember his excellent love that specifically sought out me. To recall and believe that it really happened; that I once was dead and now am alive, by God's grace alone.  

The psalmist today states it plainly:

“He drew me up
from the pit of destruction, 
out of the miry bog, 
and set my feet upon a rock, 
making my steps secure. 
He put a new song in my mouth, 
a song of praise to our God."

Psalm 40:2-3a ESV

I am a co-leader of the North Shore Neighborhood Group of CotC. My day job is to support international students at Gordon College. 

Tuesday: Psalm 21-22; Deuteronomy 4.32-49; 1 Corinthians 6.1-11

From: Jason Hood

We see three powerful truths that reinforce one another in our passages today. (1) In the passage from Deuteronomy 4, we see the God of perfection and power who has made his people his own. "No God has ever done anything like this before!" Indeed: of all the gods humanity has imagined in books of old, the legends and the myths, there's no one like our God, nor is there any rescue that compares to his redemption. (2) But this produces a problem: the people of God cannot live up to his holiness and perfection. The Israelites floundered in the wilderness of Sinai; the Corinthians floundered in the desert of a pagan city. Tempted to live paganish lives, they had in their midst.

(3) The solution is found in Psalm 22. The logical conclusion would be to forsake these wicked people completely—and indeed, that is what Deuteronomy and 1 Corinthians threaten. But Psalm 22 reveals that there is a forsaken one. On the cross, where Jesus cites the opening words of this Psalm, the perfect servant of God experienced forsakenness so that God's people in him would not be cut off.

And no one has ever seen a God like *that.*

So now God's people are called to lives of holiness in light of the great sacrifice that cleanses us: "Such were some of you; but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified."